Twice in the past month, graffiti appeared in three bathrooms on Pitzer College’s campus, naming students who were allegedly “perpetrators of rape culture” and “perpetrators of sexual assault.”
The first time the names appeared on the bathroom walls, on Oct. 26, administrators painted over them — but the next day, the graffiti was back.
Pitzer has been unable to identify which students or student organizations are behind the bathroom-writing campaign, though an investigation is ongoing.
The Pitzer Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, a student organization, wrote in a campus-wide email that the graffiti was potentially deeply triggering.
“The danger of being confronted with the name of a past assaulter in this manner has the potential to be extremely re-traumatizing, and we want to encourage cognizance of this reality,” they said.
In response to the graffiti, Pitzer’s Title IX office sent a campus-wide email informing students about how to report a sexual assault, as well as resources for victims.
But administrators also noted that Title IX protects all students from gender-based discrimination and harassment, so “the email also offered support and resources to those named in the writings and is reaching out individually to all students affected by the writings,” says Title IX coordinator Corinne Vorenkamp.
Not everyone was pleased with the Title IX office’s outreach to students named and shamed on the bathroom walls. The student newspaper reported that some on campus found the Title IX office’s email “triggering in its defense of perpetrators of rape culture.”
According to the Student Life, the weekly student newspaper, the list of names included two members of the Pitzer Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault. Both students named in the graffiti resigned, “which temporarily leaves the group without male-identifying advocates.”
The Pitzer Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault did not respond to Heat Street’s request for comment.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.